Laci Morgan's Art Blog

Freelance illustrator/animator Laci Morgan's latest projects, helpful advice, and news!

When life intrudes...

So some of you know that we've been searching for a house to buy (our first!) since last summer. Well, we FINALLY found one that we love, and will hopefully be moving in about a week. While I'm totally excited (can't wait to set up a nice office that ISN'T packed with various storage items due to the lack of space in our apartment and shared with the cat's litterbox), I've also been realizing that it will be taking up a LOT of my time. Already there have been a few things we've had to go fix on the house, like yesterday, when we had to sand off the chipped paint on the siding of the house and prime it. And then there's the massive job of packing everything up and moving it to the new place. Then I'll have to unpack. And all this while continuing to run a freelance business and completing school assignments. Eek!

There are some wonderful benefits to being a freelancer (like not having to ask for time off to move), but what happens when "LIFE" begins to interfere?

Adrien Luc-Sanders has some good suggestions, on an article he wrote for, "Tips for the Freelance Animator: balancing your work and home life."He talks about ways to keep the two separate, and points out that if you blend the two too much, you might feel like you're never leaving the office. One of the points he stresses is remembering to keep a dedicated office or work space if you work from home. I'm totally guilty of that...though I have a nice desk with nice computer monitors, I tend to work on my laptop on the couch instead. This can be a problem, as sometimes I can work way past the hours I should, or be on my computer when I should be spending time with my husband or pets. I think it is better if I can close off my office and not have the computer to distract me once "work hours" end!

Luc-Sanders also talks about how as freelancers, we tend to feel like we alone are responsible for the success or failure of the business, (because we are!) so we can tend to become workaholics. He reminds us to set aside at least one day a week that's "no freelance" time. This is a good thing to remember!

I still haven't figured out how to balance the two all the time; sometimes things that I have to do during the week for my personal life eat into my freelance time, requiring me to catch up on the weekends. For now, since I know that moving will take a lot of my time and focus, I've stopped advertising and taking on new clients for the next 2 weeks, and letting the ones I have now know that I will be preoccupied that particular week. I'll still take email and answer any questions they have, but I won't be available 24/7 to do big project changes. I think that's fair.

Now I just have to remember that once I'm in the new house, I can't revert to my old "laptop on the computer" ways! Well, at least not ALL the time. :)

GRAND TERRACE: Artist living her dream job | San Bernardino County | | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California

GRAND TERRACE: Artist living her dream job | San Bernardino County | | Southern California News | News for Inland Southern California

Very cool, the Press Enterprise, our local Inland Empire paper, did an article on me!


As an animator, one of the things that's important to study is acting, because your characters have to be believeable. I've always greatly enjoyed this, and musical theater is one of my big hobbies (you can find me singing "Defying Gravity" at the top of my lungs whenever I'm in the car!). So it's no surprise that I often record voices for my animations. I've been working on a web advertisement that includes characters like a little girl, little boy, mom, dad, and narrator. While I've been able to convincingly voice all the female roles (being a little girl is fun!), what I can't seem to do is the male ones. My husband stepped in for the dad voice, and I thought my little brother would be perfect for the little boy...until his voice changed. Oops. Now I've gotta find some new free talent!

Anyway, the point of all this is that I want to really make my voiceovers sound a bit more professional. While I think the acting itself is decent, the sound quality of the recorded files always seems to have scratchy, echo-ey background noise, no matter what I do. (That's the downside of recording at home...a dog barks, an airplane goes overhead, or the kids downstairs slam the door and ruin a take). The problem, as I've found, is not my microphone, but the setup of the room. Apparently sound waves are bouncing off my walls too much, and I need to "deaden" the sound. Except that portable recording studios cost a LOT!

So I was overjoyed to stumble upon this article. It teaches you how to make a little desktop recording booth for less than $40. Yes!!! I just ordered the audio foam from Ebay, and the cube from Amazon, and it came to about $30. I'll let you know how it works. I'm hoping it will up my sound quality, which will allow me not only to have better-sounding voiceovers for my own projects, but also to record some decent demos for freelance voiceover jobs. :)

Almost done..."resolutions"

OK, so my attempt to complete a piece for Illustration Friday is not exactly going according to plan...we found out yesterday that our offer on a house was FINALLY accepted (after searching since last summer), so that has meant that today and the next few days will be frantically filled with inspections and paperwork. I had hoped to really work on this piece and even include a tutorial version, but instead I am having to rush a bit, since I know I won't have time to work on it tomorrow due to house stuff. It's a good thing (we've been so anxious to get a house) though!

Anyway, here's what I illustrated for the topic "resolutions." It's a work in progress; I still want to add in a sidewalk/street in the background, and work on the window reflections a bit more, but I think the basic idea comes across...keep jogging, or stop for cupcakes?

I'm proud of myself for actually getting to a point where I have something to submit! Yay me. :)

Step 2: Sketch Time!

So now that I've already got my idea in place and have a good reference picture to help me pose my character, the next step is simply to pick up a pencil and draw!

When sketching for things that I know will need to be scanned into the computer, I usually choose an 8.5" by 11" sheet of white cardstock or simple paper rather than drawing in my sketchbook, because then I won't have to tear it out and won't have an uneven scan due to the thickness of the ringed sketchpad. I also like to use cheap mechanical pencils with a thin lead for my drawings, because I tend to draw small, and it allows for fine detail. I have a whole drawer full of every kind of sketch pencil and markers, but I always find myself resorting to the cheapo mechanical ones that I find in a 6 pack at the 99 cent store! Go figure.

Here's the simple sketch that resulted from my reference photo.

This sketch isn't meant to be super-detailed, since I haven't totally decided what my character is going to look like yet. I just keep it loose and messy, and try to get the basic shapes and proportions down. I'll import it into Adobe Illustrator and trace over the top, and I'll also be using the reference photo to help me get the anatomy and expression right.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my "resolution" illustration journey!

New Years Resolutions

It's a new year again, which means it's time for, yes, New Year's Resolutions! I'll admit that I usually skip the whole making resolutions thing, just because I always forget about them or break them the first week. *blushes*

But this year, it'll be different. I figure if I make a resolution somewhat related to my interests and career, I'll be more likely to stick with it. I'd really like to ramp up my blog and build my portfolio, so for 2011, my resolution is simply to draw more. Meaning non-work-related illustrations and more "just for fun, whatever's on my mind" pieces. One way I hope to do this is by participating in the Illustration Friday competitions at Each week, they announce a specific theme, and artists can submit their interpretation. It allows for exposure and just plain practice, and I think it'll stretch my creativity.

Another thing I want to do is create more interesting content for this blog. So I think I'll combine the two things and do some posts giving you a peek into my creative process, from concept to finished illustration. I have a basic idea for my picture (this week's Illustration Friday theme is "resolutions"), and now I'll begin working on it.

The first thing I usually do is take reference images, or look for reference photos online. In this case, it's a unique pose, so I thought it would be easier to just photograph myself so I can get the pose exactly how I want it. I love acting, and I'm a bit of a ham, so I totally don't mind mugging for the camera. ;D

Can anyone guess what common "resolution" I might be portraying here?

About Me

My photo
I'm an animation student at the Art Institute, as well as a budding freelance illustrator and graphic designer. I tend to specialize in Disney-like character designs and 2D animation, but I also have the ability to do professional graphics like ads, logos, and photo effects. This blog will follow current projects I'm working on, provide advice to fellow designers, and just celebrate anything in the world of art that happens to catch my fancy!

Check out my business website,


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